As the new school year began today, one million Palestinian students were expected to start school throughout the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The more than two-month-long imposed curfew was lifted in most Palestinian cities to allow students to attend school, but in Jenin and the Israeli controlled part of Hebron the curfew was not lifted at all and more than 30.000 students could not attend their first day back to school. Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi who visited Jenin today said that there was a strict curfew in the city. No students, either from the city or the refugee camp could go to school toady. The Israeli army is everywhere making life extremely dangerous for people as they open fire indiscriminately.
Yesterday ten Palestinians were injured .
Photo: Children in Hebron happy to start school today after a long and dangerous summer with curfew and invasion
The closure and checkpoints made it extremely difficult and dangerous for the children and teachers in the rest of the Palestinian territories to reach their schools.
Palestinian schoolchildren as well as teachers had to line up at Israeli military checkpoints to have their backpacks checked by Israeli soldiers before they were allowed to make their way to schools.
The educational sector has been hit hard during the last two years and especially in the period since March this year and the students and teachers were met with difficult conditions today; 7 Palestinian schools have been closed by the Israeli army, 197 school have been damaged by shelling and Israeli troops invading the buildings, 3 schools in Hebron are turned into military posts and 25 schools have been used as detention centers during the invasions.
Photo: First school day in Ramallah: Is it safe?
Palestinian school children must have one of the most dangerous routes to school in the world; in Palestine it is not traffic and cars that parents worry about when they send their children to school, but whether they will make it across the checkpoints without being shot or tear gassed by Israeli soldiers. Since September 2000, 239 Palestinian students and school children have been killed, 166 students and 75 teachers arrested.
Unless the curfew and roadblocks are lifted to allow students to move freely this will be yet another very difficult school year in Palestine.
Photo: Teachers from Nablus waiting to cross Israeli militray checkpoint at Huwara on their way to teach in village schools. One of the teachers fanited after waiting overtwo hours in the sun.
For more information The Palestine Monitor +972 2 2985372, +972 (0)59 387087 and see www.palestinemonitor.org
The Palestine Monitor Appeal
Arrest of Christian Cleric
August 30, 2002
On 22 nd of August 2002, Israeli police arrested Dr. Theodosios Attalah Hanna, the spokesman of the Greek Orthodox Church in Jerusalem. He was detained at his home and then transferred to the Russian Compound detention centre.
Dr. Hanna was charged with (1) 'suspicion of relations with terrorist organisations'; (2) 'illegally entering an enemy country', (i.e. Syria and Lebanon); and (3) 'incitement'.
His arrest and detention is another attack by the Israeli government on the religious and social lives of Palestinians. It would appear that the arrest and detention of Father Hanna is a punishment as he is a familiar and outspoken critic of the continuing illegal Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
It also appears to be a move to intimidate and pressure him to refrain from any further political activity. He said, 'Israel claims that the Church should not interfere in politics, but this is a false claim, because the Palestinian cause has both a moral, political and religious dimension, and the Christians in the Holy Land are part of the Palestinian people and are subject to the same oppression as their Muslim brothers and sisters, who both are prevented from praying in Jerusalem'. Moreover, it is an established fact that Israeli Rabbi's intervene heavily in politics in all possible forms, which is even encouraged by Israel's state ideology.
For more information call:
Archimandrite Theodosios (Atallah) Hanna: 050-668778;
Adi Bajale: 056-379312;
Attorney Ilias Khoury: 02-6283502 (office);
Marwan Toubasi: 059-803097
Or The Palestine Monitor +972 2 2985372, +972 (0)59 387087